Detroit Tigers: Akil Baddoo making the most of return to lineup early on

Detroit Tigers left fielder Akil Baddoo (60) hits a ball during Spring Training.
Detroit Tigers left fielder Akil Baddoo (60) hits a ball during Spring Training. / Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Akil Baddoo making the most of his return to the Detroit Tigers.

Coming into the 2023 season, the Detroit Tigers opted to send Akil Baddoo to the minors to join the Triple-A squad to kick things off. Not long before, the Tigers needed to call him up and bring him back to the team's lineup.

While it was due to a Injured List (IL) move, it was not long before the Detroit Tigers turned back to Baddoo. It felt like the outfielder was nothing more than a fourth-outfield bat coming into the season. He ended up being sent down, and it was thought he would get some time to find his stride at the plate.

Austin Meadows was placed on the 10-day IL as his depression and anxiety issues have resurfaced. He missed almost all of 2022 with injuries and then some mental health struggles. Said issues have continued to plague things for the Tigers outfielder, and it was announced that he needs to step away from the field and get things squared away with his anxiety issues.

Meadows was scratched late, and in response, Akil Baddoo got to step in. He had quite the turnaround to get to Detroit with a crazy flight schedule. But he got to Detroit safely and found his way into the lineup, and he has made the most of his opportunities early on.

Baddoo has played in just two games for the Tigers since being recalled in the absence of Meadows, but he's been able to execute well at the plate. He's 4-for-10 with a double to his credit—a good start for the left-handed bat, who has seemingly refined some things in his swing.

After 2022, things took a downturn for Baddoo, who burst onto the scene so graciously as a Rule 5 draftee in 2021. He looked like he would be a steady face in the outfield and at least compete for a spot, but after 2022 that was not the case.

In 2022, Baddoo finished with a .204/.289/.269 slash line with 64 punchouts over 201 at-bats. Certainly not the same as the Baddoo, who was hitting home runs and rounding the bases like a maniac when he burst onto the scene. But no one expected him to keep that up, right?

It's good to see him swinging it well. But it's been just two games. The hope for Baddoo has to be that he can hit well enough to earn some at-bats and try to stick in a role with the Tigers. That is unless the Tigers trade for Tyler O'Neill. It's improbable, but why not dream a little?

The Tigers will continue rolling with Baddoo in the absence of Meadows, and he's got a shot to earn some playing time and try to prove he's a serviceable option and has made some changes that produce positive results.

Detroit Tigers should get bold and trade for Tyler O'Neill. dark. Next